Meet #RescueBae: The man who captured the hearts of thousands after Harvey

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

SAN LEON, Texas -- It's a selfie that has captured the hearts of thousands online, and thanks to a woman in Port Arthur, a man who rescued people during Hurricane Harvey is now being known as #RescueBae.

Ariel Marie was one of many people rescued in Texas from the storm, and while Harvey was devastating, Marie found a little light in the darkness.

"One of my friends was letting me know that she got rescued from a fine Cajun Navy guy. And she said she has a picture of him. I said, 'Girl. You have to send me the picture,'" she said.

The rescuer was actually not with the Cajun Navy, but in fact, a man who runs day-to-day operations at his family's oyster business in San Leon.

Raz Halili and his cousin Gezim Halili decided to go out with a boat and jet skis to help people stranded by Harvey floodwater. They traveled to Port Arthur, Dickinson and Friendswood.

WATCH: Halili describes boat he used to rescue people and seeing devastation

Raz Halili describes boat he used to rescue Harvey victims

"The first thing we saw was a man on a canoe which flipped over in a creek, and the current started taking him away," Halili said. "We actually went down a street, into a gated community with an oyster boat, which is something I never thought I would do."

Halili said seeing it first-hand was an experience he will never forget. His father migrated to America from Alabania in the 1970s and after years and years, from job to job, he was able to open his own business, Prestige Oysters.

WATCH: Halili talks about family emigrating from Albania to start American dream in U.S.

Raz Halili talks about family emigrating from Albania to start American dream in U.S.

Halili said, because of that, he wanted to give back to a country that helped his family live the American dream. But little did he know that his selfless efforts would spark Marie's viral search for the "hot rescue guy."

"We were helping the Coast Guard out. They were having trouble with their motor," he said.

"But of course you had to get a selfie," ABC13 digital producer Scylla Lopez said.

"Of course. I had to get a selfie with the Coast Guard. It's not every day you get a selfie with the Coast Guard.

That was the famous selfie that motivated Marie to find Halili.

"He's just an amazing person. I just had to let him know that you're an amazing guy. Yes, you're fine but you're also amazing and you have an amazing heart," Marie said. "I had to find him. How can I get his attention to thank him."

Marie wanted to use her humor and social media to search for the hot rescue guy, so she posted Halili's selfie with the Coast Guard on Facebook with the caption that read in part, "This just made my day better. I'm going to find you. Oh, yes I am. You don't even know how much your selfie just blessed me."

Nearly 7,000 Facebook shares and 5,700 comments later with many people referring him to "The Young and the Restless" star Shemar Moore's doppelganger, and Halili has officially been dubbed as #RescueBae.

"It's been a bit funny. I saw what she was doing and I appreciate the humor in it," Halili said.

"A lot of people have messaged me and thanked me, saying thank you for the laughter. Thank you for this during this time. I think we all needed that relief," Marie said.

Marie wants Halili to know how much her community is thankful for people like himself who sacrificed their safety for strangers.

"I truly believe he was heaven sent to that area to rescue those people. I just want to tell him thank you," Marie said.

And in case you're wondering, Halili is not single.